This blog post currently coming to you from a long-awaited vacation to the south of France- many photos to come. But this isn’t to say my friends and I didn’t take advantage of summer happenings in Paris to squeeze in a mini-vacation in the midst of a hectic workweek.
Now in its 13th season, the Paris Plages returned on 20 July, and let me tell you, these umbrellas stuck in the sand are such a welcome sight. A beach along the Seine? you may ask. What is this madness?
Every summer, the city of Paris closes down the major highway that runs along the Seine in the center of the city, brings in 5000 tons of sand, and turns it into a beach for the end of July and most of August, for the benefit of those stuck in the city for the summer and those who come to visit. The plages are also set up along Bassin de la Villette, further north in the city, for those who prefer the canals to the river itself (read: fewer tourists).
I headed down to hang out under an umbrella mid-afternoon on a Thursday with a couple friends to have a picnic, people-watch and benefit from the not-too-hot weather after the heatwave of the past couple of weeks. Being inside without air conditioning, especially the metro, is insufferable in that kind of heat. The more opportunity we take to hang out outside, the better!
But it’s not just for playing in the sand. The Paris Plages will also host events, like blood drives, dances, tai chi classes, and concerts. Up at Bassin de la Villette, you can rent boats, play foosball, and there are activities for kids as well. It’s a summer phenomenon that fills up just as the rest of the city is emptying out.
The Paris Plages will go until Sunday 16 August on the Voie Georges Pompidou on the Seine and Sunday 23 August at the Bassin de la Villette. Allez-y et profitez-en bien!